Work Camp Underway

PARKERSBURG – Resembling a hive of worker bees, volunteers with this summer’s Mid-Ohio Valley Work Camp project swarmed over a Vaughan Avenue residence Wednesday giving it a facelift with a new coat of paint.

The nonprofit volunteer project is sponsored by area Churches of Christ and provides volunteer labor to paint houses for homeowners in need. The work is done at no cost to the property owner.

Since the program’s inception in 1999, more than 400 homes have received a fresh coat of paint. Homes in Wood and Washington County are part of the project.

Thirty-eight homes were painted last year, according to Jeremy Woodward with the work camp.

“All across the Vienna, Parkersburg area we have 35 houses total that are being done this summer. We started on Monday. We had 480 teens show up this year to participate in the program,” said Jason Cline, site manager on the scene at the Vaughan Avenue on Wednesday.

Teens came for the project from all over the United States including Florida, Ohio, Maryland, and Tennessee.

“This is actually my fifth year doing this. I just really like being completely selfless for a week, and helping these guys out,” said 17-year-old Lilia Bryan of Merritt Island, Fla. She came with the Christ Central Church group from Central Florida.

Sammy Crowe, also from Florida, said this was her first year to participate in the Work Camp.

“We did projects like this in Florida, and I wanted to go on a youth trip and help other people,” she said.

Both girls it gives them a sense of satisfaction to help others.

“It’s not even someone I know, but just the fact I’m helping someone who needs it,” Crowe said.

Cline said neighbors have pitched in as well.

“The neighbor next door has been helping us. We’ve had people drop off popsicles. It is just kind of exciting for people to see what’s happening, especially with the teens who are working,” Cline said.

There are all ages involved, adults and senior groups that pitch in ever year.

“They come every year and do a house,” Cline said.

The volunteer youth pay $75 to attend the weeklong work camp. They are provided shelter and food at Ohio Valley University.

Camp officials said some of the youth who come for the camp end up returning here to attend college and live and work in the area.

“It really blows your mind to see the difference a coat of paint makes in these houses, it changes the whole neighborhood. It raises the value of the homes and others in the neighborhood are often inspired to fix up their property as well,” Work Camp official Jeremy Woodward told Wood County commissioners.

Work Camp officials met with the commission in the spring seeking funding to help with the project. The commission agreed to give the program $10,000 out of county video lottery proceeds.